Tag: 2005

Sonny Rollins interviewed by Joshua Redman: Newk’s time

sonnyRollinsHere is a great 2005 interview with the legendary Sonny Rollins conducted by modern master Joshua Redman. The two tenor greats discuss everything from Sonny’s early days in New York to never being satisfied with one of his performances. Included at the bottom of the piece are many quotes from other musicians about Sonny Rollins, which are great reading all on their own!

From the interview:

JR: The ’50s and ’60s were an amazing age in music, where all these incredible innovations were taking place. Among musicians in my generation, with everything we’ve read and heard, there is a perception that there was more of a life for jazz on the streets of New York, a sense of real community; musicians playing and recording with each other all the time. Is that true?

SR: Well, in those days-and I’m speaking now primarily of when I came on the scene, the latter part of the ’40s, into the ’50s and so on, there was less money to be made. Therefore, the guys sort of stuck together. It was more about the music than about becoming a household name-especially the type of music that was making the break from swing; the guys that were doing that felt marginalized anyway, so they had a community and it was a very close-knit community. There were the usual problems between human beings, but the jazz community, the guys that were playing, they were naturally brought closer together because there weren’t that many places to play. There were just clubs, and clubs were small, and not that much money to be made, not as many records sold.

Click here to read Sonny Rollins interviewed by Joshua Redman: Newk’s time

—Peter Blasevick

Burt Bacharach On Piano Jazz

burtBacharachBurt Bacharach has written more than 600 songs and more than 70 Top 40 hits. In 1957, Bacharach met fellow songwriter Hal David, and the two began a collaboration that would result in some of the most memorable songs of their day, many of which have an adventurous and jazz-inspired sense of harmony and rhythm, cleverly disguised as simple pop songs!

In this NPR Piano Jazz session from 2005, Bacharach discusses his early years, his collaborations, and performs some of his most famous numbers, such as “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and “Close to You.” 


  • “Alfie” (Bacharach, David)
  • “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” (Bacharach, David)
  • “This Guy’s In Love With You” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” (Bacharach, David)
  • “What The World Needs Now Is Love” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Portrait Of Burt Bacharach” (McPartland)
  • “The Windows Of The World” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Close To You” (Bacharach, David)

Click here to listen to Burt Bacharach On Piano Jazz

—Peter Blasevick

For Dr. Billy Taylor’s 93rd Birthday Anniversary (1921-2010), An Uncut Blindfold Test from 2005

billyTaylorYesterday would have been Dr. Billy Taylor‘s 93rd birthday. Ted Panken posted an uncut blindfold test he did with the great pianist and educator for Downbeat in 2005. Some really great insights. From the interview, here is Taylor discussing fellow pianist Dave McKenna:

He used to live in the Poconos, and did a lot of stuff for Concord Records… Dave McKenna. I love his playing. He does this better than anybody I know. Those are some interesting lines he’s playing, man. They’re fascinating. Now, that’s a left hand! One of the things I pride myself in is what I do with the left hand, because it’s what I grew up with and I like to use it. But I love the way he used it, because that’s very personal. I remember years ago, when I first met Dave, I did a radio piece on him, and I was pointing out the fact that this was the most unique left hand I’d heard since Fats Waller. It was so personal and the way he did it was so effective as a contemporary way of doing basslines.

Click here to read For Dr. Billy Taylor’s 93rd Birthday Anniversary (1921-2010), An Uncut Blindfold Test from 2005

—Peter Blasevick

Mulgrew Miller, R.I.P. (1955-2013) — A Downbeat Article and Several Interviews

mulgrewMillerWe are all saddened by the passing of the pianist Mulgrew Miller. He was a great artist and was as generous and kind as a man could be the couple of occasions I had to speak with him during my travels at William Paterson University where he headed up the Jazz Studies program.

Here is a tribute by Ted Panken, a collection of interviews from 1988, 1994, and 2005. From the piece, Miller discusses the music of James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Al Green:

“It still hits me where I live,” he says. “It’s black music. That’s my roots. When I go home, they all know me as the church organist from years ago, so it’s nothing for me walk up to the organ and fit right in. I once discussed my early involvement in music with Abdullah Ibrahim, and he described what I went through as a community-based experience. Before I became or wanted to become a jazz player, I played in church, in school plays, for dances and for cocktail parties. I was already improvising, and always on some level it was emotional or soul or whatever you want to call it. I was finding out how to connect with people through music.”

Click here to read Mulgrew Miller, R.I.P. (1955-2013) — A Downbeat Article and Several Interviews

Jazz Police Interview With Geoffrey Keezer

A few cool interviews I found on the JazzPolice website this week. Here’s a quick 2005 talk with the great modern-day pianist Geoffrey Keezer. He talks about recordings and some of the people he was playing with at the time, as well as growing up with the support of his parents:

JP. You grew up in a family where music was a major component of daily life. [Father Ron Keezer headed the jazz band program at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.] Looking back now, how did that environment inform your development as a young musician, and how does it impact your work today?

GK. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have had the total support of my parents in whatever I wanted to do. Of course if my parents hadn’t been musicians I might have turned out differently. But as a kid, I thought everybody played music – it just seemed so normal to me!

Click here to read Jazz Police Interview With Geoffrey Keezer

Charlie Hunter: Living the Music

More interviews this week from the great AllAboutJazz.com! If you don’t regularly go there—and if you have found this site, I’m sure you do go there—you should…it’s everything you want to know about today’s jazz.

Eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter has stunned audiences for years with his virtuosic ability to play simultaneous bass and guitar lines, sounding at times more like a Hammond organist than a guitarist. Whether playing in a quartet, quintet, trio, duo or solo format (he’s done plenty of recording and gigging in all these configurations), Hunter’s groove-based jazz/rock hybrid is immediately recognizable, and has produced some classic albums. Here, Hunter is interviewed in 2005 by Paul Olson and spoke about Hunter’s collaborative band Garage à Trois, his experimental Groundtruther collaborations with Bobby Previte, the Charlie Hunter Trio, his take on the jamband scene, his thoughts on comping, his much-vaunted bass/guitar technique, and more.

AAJ: I haven’t spoken about how you use your eight-string guitar to play simultaneous bass and guitar parts because, even though you’re known for that, to me it’s like talking about a tenor player about his horn: it’s just what you do. But I wonder if you’d explain how you do the simultaneous parts; not how you trained your mind and fingers, but what your hands do to play this stuff. Is your right hand doing all the work?

CH: Well, no. It’s too damn complicated; that’s the problem with it. The right hand is kind of the execution hand, rhythmically. If you think about it, there’s all of the rhythmic combinations, the counterpoint between the thumb and the fingers—thumb playing the bass, fingers generally playing the guitar. Tons of that kind of counterpart going on. Then you have the left hand, which is the conception hand, dealing, in any given millisecond throughout the music, with your four fingers having to act as a team. Then you put those two hands together and that creates a third set of combinations between those two hands. So, basically, through experience you just learn millions and millions of these kinds of combinations. The more you learn, the easier it is to get to the music.

Click here to read Charlie Hunter: Living the Music